The Mysterious Note: 8 – A New Lead!

Dr Ryne Beck Gravatar Twenty four hours later, as I walked through the peaceful streets of Steelhead to retrieve my trusty old bicycle from where I had left it outside the town hall, I stopped dead in front of a shop I had never seen before and I gaped at the sign in the window.

Slade Outfitters.

Steelhead: The Mysterious NoteThe right shop at last!

Almost in a daze I walked into the store, evening was approaching and like the street out front the shop was empty save for several tasteful displays, a large ornately woven rug and a curious console atop a wooden plinth that was replete with blinking lights and flashing displays.
Steelhead: The Mysterious Note

With a mouth cotton dry, I stammered the code given in the note “one two five three echo”. I had no idea what I expected to happen and certainly having the expensive rug let out a metallic ‘click’ and hiss of steam as it moved upwards slightly before sliding back to reveal a hole in the floor was low on my list. Obviously no one had informed the rug of my expectations and I leapt into the air in surprise as it moved under my feet!
Steelhead: The Mysterious Note

Peering down the hole, I could see a ladder leading down into a cellar from which I could hear the whirs, clicks and beeps of machinery. I steeled myself and headed on down into the earthen-walled room and found it well lit by the sort of machines I had come to expect from the more creative members of the Steelhead community – the sort of machines that delight observers with their whirring and clicking and beeping and flashing and sparking without ever revealing why or for what purpose.
Steelhead: The Mysterious Note

Beyond the machines and at the far end of the cellar I spied a metal grate across a section of wall, but I was too busy looking around for evidence of a delivery (after all, the note had been very specific that something should be left in the cellar, hadn’t it) to take much notice. My eyes settled on a pile of crates, or rather on the words stencilled onto them “FRAGILE – KEEP DRY – DO NOT DROP”, and my heart missed a beat. What on earth could be in them? What was so precious? So fragile? So, perhaps, dangerous?
Steelhead: The Mysterious Note

Suddenly I heard a noise, a small scuttling noise, from near the metal grate and looked up just in time to see a large rat disappear through it. I moved over to investigate and found that the grate was actually a portcullis style door leading to what looked to be another room beyond. I pushed and pulled at the metal, but it would not budge. I took a chance and repeated the code in the note “one two five three echo” and was rewarded as the grating slid nosily upwards. I peered through the open doorway and gasped out loud as I saw beyond it a large tunnel! It obviously man-made and large enough for an omnibus to traverse through, in places it was ornately constructed and the entire section I could see was quite clearly very much abandoned.
Steelhead: The Mysterious Note

After the horror of the New Babbage sewers a mere twenty fours behind me, I was somewhat reluctant to enter another subterranean realm of unknown dangers, but I saw little choice and pressed on…

****{}****

To be continued…
All the “The Mysterious Note” posts can be read here.

*****{*}*****

Advertisements

4 comments

  1. Dr. Beck is spending so much time in the dank tunnels of the Steamlands that he needs to worry about catching a cold! (Or, as Strange Magic seems to be at work at times, catching something worse.)

    Glad to see that the man is back on the right track.

  2. a man of science is by nature possessed of an insatiable curiosity.

    that said, sometimes curiosity does seem to run at odds with common sense.

    I think that is one reason why I like the Doc. He’s almost like an addict in his need to have questions answered.

    1. I see the doc as much more an action man than HBA – although given HBA’s scrapes in the past, and the fact I want the doc to be a man of peace, I’m not sure how that’s going to work out 😀

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s